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PORTUGAL - Health & Education

Vasco Antunes Pereira

CEO, Lusíadas Saúde

Bio

Vasco Antunes Pereira is currently CEO of Lusíadas Saúde, a reference group in the Portuguese healthcare sector. Before assuming the position of CEO, he was CEO of Hospital de Cascais and a member of the board of directors of Lusíadas Saúde. With a law degree from Universidade Lusíada, several postgraduate degrees in health at Stanford University and IESE, and an MBA from Georgetown University, he began his career as a corporate lawyer then moved to be head of the legal area at the first PPP experience in Portugal – Hospital Amadora-Sintra. After his MBA he changed roles and led strategic procurement at José de Mello Saúde.

"In response to the pandemic, we realized the need elevate our approach to technology."
In 25 years, Lusíadas Saúde has expanded geographically to operate throughout Portugal and is the country’s third-largest private player in terms of revenue.
Lusíadas Saúde celebrates its 25th anniversary. Can you provide a brief overview of the evolution of the company and where it stands within the Portuguese healthcare system?

Lusíadas started out as HPP and was established by Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Portugal’s largest publicly owned bank, to provide healthcare services to its employees. Initially, it focused on orthopedics, as that was the greatest needs of Caixa’s employees, and over time it expanded to cover other areas of healthcare. As the need for healthcare services increased, Lusíadas expanded geographically across Portugal and now operates throughout Portugal. It is the third-largest private player in terms of revenue and has over 6,000 professionals working with it.

Can you elaborate on the recent acquisition by Vivalto Santé?

The acquisition is essential for our business development and will improve the patient experience. Access to Vivalto’s network of hospitals is a crucial asset, because it allows us to share knowledge of systems and how to interact with players and customers. Vivalto has a wealth of knowledge about working with the government and has a close connection with doctors, following the third way of having doctors become company shareholders. This is a powerful strategy for engagement, retirement, and knowledge sharing moving forward. We had this system in place before, which is essential because in terms of DNA, we are not changing what we have been doing to date. There are also opportunities for consolidation in other areas, such as dental care, and we have noticed ample support from Vivalto in terms of financial backing to pursue businesses of this type. It is extremely innovative at the organizational level.

How is Lusíadas contributing to the economy, and what have been the ripple effects from its operations?

We build up our network by partnering with stakeholders that have deep understanding of a local market. We approach local stakeholders and share our intentions of moving to a region of competency, subsequently forming partnerships with private and public players that know the market and conditions. We have formed several such connections throughout the country, where growing makes sense. Our partners range from real estate developers to small businesses. We have also been connected to several players in specific regions to develop the local economies.

What is the potential for medical tourism in Portugal?

Medical tourism requires a sector approach to effectively distribute the product. Given the cost of living, Portugal has a privileged position to provide medical tourism. The cost of healthcare in Portugal is extremely competitive compared to European markets. Additionally, the healthcare system in Portugal has various certifications and recognitions, including the highest standard for technology use. Most of our hospitals are already accredited by the Joint Commission International. Our competitors have similar quality standards, which position us at the highest end of medical attractiveness.

How do you envision Lusíadas evolving in the medium and long term, and what role will quality innovation play within that strategy?

In response to the pandemic, we realized the need elevate our approach to technology. We have transformed our innovation department from being technology focused to being led by medical experts. Innovation needs to be driven by the needs of the people, and we must be innovative in the way we serve them. Our focus is on technology that serves people, not the other way around. We have also transitioned to a physician-led lab initiative and have been investing heavily in analytics to better serve our clients. We are utilizing AI to instruct and guide our clients on the best way to live healthier and longer lives. Our goal is to maximize the gift of longer life provided by technology and help our clients and their families live life to the fullest. We aim to transform healthcare and the system, making it more educated and efficient.

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